Wednesday, May 5, 2010

'House-fool'....and hobby horses of netas...

First day , second show. I am a total sucker for garbagy hindi films. I looovvvvve watching them on the big screen, mainly to check how low they can get, and how high our tolerance level is. In the case of 'Housefull', I was slightly disappointed that the gags and humour didn't descend to the bottom of the pit nor create as much of a stink as I had hoped for. Of course, there were abominably gauche comments ( the reference to a Black or British African baby as a 'daamar ka tukda' - a piece of tar), and other similar horrors. There were also super tacky sequences about 'Homos' ( how crude and offensive Bollywood can get - surprising given that the film industry is dominated by gays). There was Riteish D once again camping it up ( it does come so naturally to him - why does he bother to play straight roles??). And then there was the saving grace of this dumb script - Akshay Kumar, whose timing is faultless and whose presence lifts the dumbest scene from self -destructing. Arjun Rampal is beyond eye candy yumminess as an entirely unconvincing 'Anna', but who cares? He looks and talks great. That leaves the pin up girls - their super hot bikini bods make up for any and every lapse. Jiah and Jacqueline age the other two lovelies - Lara and Deepika. But when all the male and female hotties burn it up in an item song - does anything else really count?

The lampooning of the Queen of England was hysterical, especially her declaring, 'Jai Maharashtra!"

And since we are on the subject of Maharashtra, here's my column from BT on monday....


When I saw Uddhav Thackeray’s trendy photograph on the cover of BT on Maharashtra Day, I blinked and blinked again. I took in the international look – cool leather jacket, the famous checked shirt, hip shades that Dhoni might lust after…. in fact, Uddhav was sporting all the accoutrements required for a man on the go - a today’s guy, a dude! Could this broadly grinning gentleman with a naughty twinkle in his eyes truly be Uddhav? ‘The’ Uddhav? Feared and disliked, dismissed and scorned by the city’s elite? Gone was the prominent vermillion tikka on the forehead, gone, too the orange kurta, and even the studiedly solemn expression on his face, which once conveyed a single message – ‘Don’t mess with me or my party.” Was Mumbai seeing a ‘new’, ‘improved’ Thackeray?Oh well… after all this was Uddhav’s virgin front page debut in the glam press, and I guess he didn’t want to send out the wrong message to the Page 3 crowd.Which is smart thinking, considering the ‘cover boy’s’ outing was strictly non-political, and the interview ably conducted by the BT editor, Mark Manuel, focused on Uddhav the aerial photographer, rather than Uddhav the Shiv Sena neta.
That’s what set me thinking… if more politicians decided to highlight their ‘other’ selves, perhaps their critics would be slightly more forgiving. This is not to say creative pursuits and unusual hobbies make up for various sins of omissions and commissions ( Hitler was a talented water colourist, remember?). But just imagine the good it might do in terms of positive positioning, especially if the person has battled with ‘image issues’ all along. Let’s face it, all the Thackerays have had major problems with the English press, especially in Mumbai. So deeply entrenched is the mutual antagonism, there is virtually no meeting ground left for a meaningful dialogue. Which makes this interview significant. Take a controversial politician…throw in a passion that humanizes the person and see the difference it makes. Atal Bihari Vajpayee had several enemies, but everyone loved his poetry. More recently, Kapil Sibal’s admirers love him for better or ‘verse’ - his poetic adventures have found several takers. I for one, am all for politicos presenting their soft side and letting the audience decide on the merits of their work. Aerial photography is a highly specialized field - what Uddhav has attempted is not for the faint hearted – I would call it seriously hazardous. Think about hanging precariously from the door of a helicopter that’s hovering over the edge of a precipice, or circling the mouth of a dormant volcano. It ain’t easy! But the guy’s done it. And the results are there for all to see between the covers of a glossy, well designed coffee table book (a cheaper janata edition is available as well).Worth checking out for some spectacular vistas of Mumbai and the rest of Maharashtra.
With Uddhav in the limelight, can cousin Raj be left behind? Raj Thackeray’s cartooning skills are as good as his uncle Balasaheb’s. Raj is a superb caricaturist and satirist, but I wonder if he has the time these days to pursue his art with as much zeal as it deserves. All the Thackeray men have a great sense of humour and can keep you in splits with their clever puns and smart repartees. Imagine if guys like these three were to reserve a generous chunk of their time following their hearts (and de-stressing while they were at it), their politics would be different. Qualitatively so. Perhaps less buses would be torched!!! Music and art are capable of taming the beast in all of us. More cartoons and more photographs, gentlemen. We are desperately looking for a kinder, gentler Maharashtra .
I’ll be out of town when the Qasab judgement is read out later today.
It is impossible to second guess what it’s likely to be.
But if there is one thing his trial has proved to the world – and to Pakistan in particular, it is that here in India, at least a few key democratic principles still count. Qasab was given a fair trial. Our investigating officers, and all those associated with this unique case ( where a terrorist is caught and tried) deserve our support and gratitude for a difficult job, competently and smoothly seen to its logical conclusion. Well done!


Sudhir Kekre said...


Loved this post.I guess nothing is black and white in life. shades of grey everywhere. Nice to know the other side of the Thackerays.

Readers Dais said...

Hello madam,

loved ur mixed bag post....
cant believe raj thackrey is good in caricature, normally where art resides is there space for hatred?...not sure now!

P.S- Had written a poem in my blog when kasab shed tears during devika rotawan's witness seing kasabs reaction during the judgement, makes me think again on my words.

Alex Engwete said...

"daamar ka tukda"
This made me laugh to tears. It reminded me of a piece of American cultural trivia I was unaware of... There used to be a stringent litmus test of "light-skin-ness" that African-Americans subjected themselves to--if you could believe it! Well, I didn't believe it at first when my daughter told me about it, a month or so ago (my daughter was born and grew up in the U.S., whereas I got here as an adult; there's therefore a huge chunk of pop culture that remains a mystery to me). So, she googled for my enlightenment the article "Colorism" on Wikipedia where she made me read this:
"The "brown paper bag test" was a ritual once practiced by certain African-American and Creole fraternities and sororities who discriminated against people who were "too dark." That is, these groups would not let anyone into the sorority or fraternity whose skin tone was darker than a paper lunch bag, in order to maintain a perception of standards. Spike Lee's film School Daze satirized this practice at historically black colleges and universities."
I must admit, I still have to watch that Spike Lee's movie to have a good laugh!...
The French singer Claude Nougaro has a song called "Armstrong" where he has an imaginary conversation with Louis Armstrong about the absurdity of racism (my translation):

"Armstrong, soon or later,
We'd both only be bones,
Would yours be white?
That would be funny"

Funny, indeed!
Thanks, Madame, for making me laugh...

SUNNY said...

Hello Mam,
I have heard a lot about you, but this the first time I am reading your blog since I am new in the arena myself.
Just one blog has told me how diversified writing can be where you take us from a movie review to Maharashtra and then to Kasab. Beautiful is the only word that comes to my mind.
i will keep in touch with your words and world now!!

Anonymous said...

I love the first two written lines.
All I can say: total filmy hai boss
- I salute.

Balvinder Balli said...

Nothing wrong in Uddhav Thackerey wearing western style clothes. But then he should stop shouting from the roof tops preaching others to shun non Marathi (particularly English) languages and stop his goons from going around and breaking hoardings etc written in languages other than Marathi. I recently stayed in a Hotel in Bombay which is owned by Mr. Manohar Joshi, a hard core Shiv Sainik (who was seen warning people of Bombay on TV not to come out doors on the day when MNIK was released). I could not find a single Marathi word written anywhere in the Hotel, right from menu card to the literature provided in the rooms. Shouldn't we call these 'Double Standards'.

ZB said...

***( how crude and offensive Bollywood can get - surprising given that the film industry is dominated by gays)***- Psst, who are the "gays"? SRK, KJohar, A Rampal? right? I am so eager!!!

Sameer said...

Shobhaa, you talk about the 'homo' jokes in the movies. As a straight person you resent those, so guess what must be going in the minds of 'gays' -- rather Indian gay people. As a gay person myself, I hate, absolutely hate and detest bollywood making mockery of gays through their movies. We are NOT a topic of joke - we are real individuals with real feelings who are extremely successful in our lives. I really hope you will use your 'lekhaNi' (pen) to write an article on this topic and how bollywood should start projecting gays in the right spotlight - I am dreaming there will be more movies like My Brother Nikhil made in bollywood where the real human side of gays is portrayed.

I seriously think you should write a separate column instead of just expressing your frustration through the blog - people listen to you, so please use your writing skills and talents for this another worthy cause. And yes, inspite of bollywood's top film directors being gay, I really doubt there will be any coming out happening from any of those. I have said this and will say it again - we are BIG hypocrites. As a openly gay man, the worst reaction I get about my sexual orientation is always from my own countrymen. (I guess they don't mind if I get married and ruin another girl's life but at least I will fit the bucket of what society feels 'normal)

sunil golcha said...

hi shobha
even though houseful is akshay's movie all the way i thought jiah khan looked awesome in that first night song while malaika was wasted but one thing is for sure its definitely going to be the biggest hit of this year

PS said...

LoL@"( how crude and offensive Bollywood can get - surprising given that the film industry is dominated by gays). There was Riteish D once again camping it up ( it does come so naturally to him - why does he bother to play straight roles??)"

Harish said...

homosexuality is something very personal, i dont like the drama and melodrama that clouds it. though, i dont make an issue of it if someone jokingly says something about gays. I do have some sense of humour to not take offence on every little gag.

BUT having said that.. HOUSE FULL was beyond the limit of humour.It was beyond harmless fun and puns... I take serious offence to the kind of "humour" that is used. not because i am a homosexual myself, but because it is against basic principles of humanity.

we have censor issues on silly things, how did the censor pass something so nasty as this one?? I wonder.

And here is something (out-of-context though)

and what is disguisting is that we still have draconian rules that "validate" discrimination

today my straight colleague had been to donate blood, he was aghast to find a column asking him about his sexuality. It is sad that Gays arnt allowed to donate blood. It is said that we are a "high-risk" group.

Why, do straight men not "do-stuff">? do they have "only-safe-sex", Do they never have "anal-sex"... Isnt the sexual history more important to capture than sexuality???

not coming to the Pun-Poem-Paint brand of politicians, i feel, it is a very good way of brand building. And it is nice that their art and craft looks beyond their political image. :) mast move.


Wallah! the kasab verdoct is going to be out. Finally. Am so happy that it is reaching the end. And so so proud that we gave even the hardest criminal - a fair trial. the day before, i participated in a BBC debate on what should be the verdict on Kasab.

Some funny arguments were that Kasab will be worshiped as a "martyr" by his people... Rubbish.

I have a sazaa for Kasab...

"He should be given the job of an underpaid motorman in a Mumbai local. And should be asked to say "STRIKE" at ekdam peak hour openly that all commuters can hear."

What happens to kasab after that... well, we can wait and watch.. :)

Harish said...

oopies... it should have read *sexuality is very personal*...

wise donkey said...

the K clan in Tamilnadu, takes your advise too seriously and spends their time on films and film functions.And takes advantage of the popularity of the film industry and the stars.. (Chennai corner .Its ok to have another side, but please have some balance, and spend sometime for the aam aadmi too..

Pooja Rathore said...

Houseful - a timepass, i liked your analysis of the movie and the movie stars( you are good at details).
kasab sentenced to death - his trial was fair i am happy our constitutional key principles were upheld and the guilty punished.

Vibushan L Narayan said...

Excellent post. India did give him a fair trial and as you say rightly, some, infact, a lot of democratic principles still exist which is probably why it has taken so ling but what he did to the indian families can never be compensated. If he is hanged, it'll be too quick a death for him, any other sentence which keeps him alive isn't good enough. Thats why sometimes I feel, like how The Joker in the movie Dark Knight says, "You know Why I use Knives? Its because you can savor the moments when you kill", I feel, The rules of the Israeli Mossad torturing their POW should apply here.

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Unknown said...

desist, mz de! cease this humanising of the thackrees! udhav's aerial photography and raj's cartooning skills are like emperor nero playing the fiddle as rome burned! even the crocodile has a smile on its face during its feeding frenzy! the grin of the shark!!
appropos "housefull": how low can we go? lower than you can imagine! how high do we aim? lower than you can imagine! we are such innocents: homosexuality can still titillate, everywhere else it is a way of life, like fruits before breakfast and cream in one's coffee. sigh! we are boldly going where all men have gone before and returned!

Unknown said...

Side Effectts of legalizing GAYSEX in india ???
Hjiras,Gandu’s,MsM,Kinar,Aravanies,6no’s,Mamu & Dogs Not Allowed ??

377 > GAY Get FUCKED on Roads freely ?
377 > HEJADS do SEXWORK on Roads freely ?
377 > GAY & HEJADS and MsM,s Terrible ?
377 > No Opinion HEJADS are Crimals of Society
377 > Hjiras & Dogs Not Allowed ?
377 > MsM have 89% are AIDS Check MSM CBO ?
377 > Hijads have 89% are AIDS Check MSM CBO ?
377 > MSM CBO & NGO have a PLHA centers ?
377 > GAYSEX will Destroy Social Fabric in INDIA ?

Buzzintown Blogger said...

To expect anything sensible from funnyman Sajid Khan is hoping for too much. Even looking for something reasonable in a Sajid Khan film is asking too much and hoping for something acceptable is, well off the radar. If you leave any kind of expectations way out of the cinema hall then there is a slight chance that you might enjoy Houseful in spurts.

Fun Events and Entertainment Bangalore
Hindi movies in Delhi
Hindi movie Houseful review

Unknown said...

"A few key democratic principles" are applied selectively, unfortunately, in this country. Or else, those responsible for the deaths of thousands of innocent members of religious minorities during communal riots would've been on death row by now, if not hanged already.

As for the creative talents of divisive politicians, those hardly take away from the death and destruction that they have caused or are likely to cause in future.

HARSHA said...


HARSHA said...


Unknown said...

Indian cities, school, streets everywhere, it is dirty! ? whats about the Indian government?
IPL money-laundering scandal threatens Indian government ??

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